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Rainy day in Washington (Vinny down and out)

Posted Apr 3, 2008 by Erik Erlendsson

Updated Apr 3, 2008 at 10:33 PM

Sorry for the late post on a gameday, but I took advantage of some free time in D.C. today and took a subway ride after lunch down to the Mall area. After seeing that the American History Museum is still undergoing renovations (it’s been closed since September 2006), which is a major bummer because it’s my favorite Smithsonian museum here, I wandered over to the Air and Space Museum, mainly because they had some items on display from the American History Museum until it opens up later this summer (I hope!!!). After spending about an hour in there, I went over to the National Archives, I find it very inspiring to check out the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta. Being involved in Watching John Adams on HBO right now, it seemed like a logical stop today. But when I got there, a line was formed out the door, and then they cut it off because so many people were in the rotunda room and I happened to be the cut off point. So being that close, I decided to wait it out the 30 minutes before they reopened the lines (it started to rain at this point, fortunately I was under the entranceway). I kept checking my watch to see if I still had time to get in and still get to the game on time. When I was finally let in to the building, the line to see the Constitution and such was about another 30-45 minuted long. So I just took a peek inside the room to get a view of the mural on the wall which features the members of the first Continental Congress. It wasn’t the inspiration I was looking for, but it had to do for today as time was running short. I was able to walk around a little to some of the other exhibits before heading to the gift shop. I had to do my part to fund the museum, so the kids will be getting a gift when I get back home (of course, I had to buiy something for myself, too. . . hey, just trying to help fund the musuem to keep it up and running)

I’m happy to report I made my way back through the rain to my hotel, changed my shirt and put on my tie (Mickey Mouse, what else) and endured a subway delay in order to get to the rink in time.

And I’m glad I did as Karri Ramo is absolutely putting on a show in this game. The kid has been unbelievable stopping every shot the Caps have thrown his way. The only one of the 20 shots to get by him actually deflected off his own stick then the back of Filip Kuba’s skate and then in the net off the skate of Alex Picard. Bad luck, but the game is tied, but only because of Ramo who has 19 saves already on 20 shots. Guess he took that comments from Tortorella about starting next year in the AHL to heart. the kid is pretty good.

The 20 shots allowed, by the way, is a season high for Tampa Bay.

Quick observation - Damn, Matt Cooke hits hard!!!


A little more in control that period, or at least under control anyway. Ramo is still playing terrific, even though he only faced 9shots in that period, a far cry from the first period when he was under siege to keep Tampa Bay in the game. Ramo came up with a terrific save on Alex Ovechkin after a bad giveaway in the Lightning zone. Ovechkin, by the way, was credited with the first Washington goal (their only goal to this point) to set a new single-season record for most goals by a left wing with 64. Replays showed that the puck, which looked like it hit the skate of Filip Kuba, was actually swiped by Ovechkin before it bounced off the skate of Alex Picard.

Cristobal Huet made a dandy save of his own in that period, stopping Craig MacDonald all alone in front after a turnover behind the Washington net. Will be interesting to see what happens in the third period here with Washington needing the two points to stay in playoff contention. If the Caps come out in the third like they did in the second, they will win this game going away. But with the way Ramo is playing, he just might spoil Washington’s party.

One thing of note here, at the end of the period, Lightning coach John Tortorella put Jeff Halpern on left wing with Vinny and Marty. Guess he thinks that if Halpern has been the spark on the second line no matter who else has been playing with Halpern, then maybe he can spark Marty and Vinny. Uh, whatever. . . .  Jussi Jokinen is now playing with Mathieu Darche and Michel Ouellet.

One other observation - Damn, Alex Ovechkin hits hard, too. (He also got hit hard on the knee when he blocked a shot, keep an eye on that)

UPDATE 9:00 P.M.

Vinny Lecavalier just left the game and he looks to be done for the season (I know, only one game left) after he got hit by Matt Cooke. Lecavalier went down and didn’t get up for several moments, laying the same position and kind of writhing there a bit. When he finally did get up, he had to be helped to his feet by Brad Lukowich and Mathieu Darche. Lecavalier appeared to be holding his right arm. I don’t want to speculate on what the injury is, but I’ll pass along when I know.

UPDATE 10:30

Team is diagnosing Vinny’s injury only as a right shoulder injury, but he walked out of the arena with the shoulder in a sling. He has already been ruled out of Saturday’s season finale in Atlanta. Good thing this happened now and not in December.

But the team did feel that Cooke took a cheap shot and should have been an interference call on Cooke. Here’s a quote from John Tortorella after the game:

“It’s an absolute cheap shot,’’ Lightning coach John Tortorella said. “We have stick foul after stick foul, and then I see that, it’s a guy in a vulnerable position. The puck isn’t anywhere near him and that isn’t called. It’s an absolute cheap shot.’’

Reader Comments

Por (scott) on April 03, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Exactly what we didn’t want to see, injuries this late in the season.  Kuba just got whacked with a stick and Erskine got 4 minutes

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Por (kevin) on April 03, 2008 (Suggest removal)

i’m glad that Roy and O’Brien was in the press box.  we couldn’t have used them in this game… we have janik and junior.

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Por (Jason Harlow) on April 03, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I vote we change the logo back to the old one. We never had all the injuries and such with the old one! (It is the only explanation I can come up with)

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Por (hockeyWA) on April 03, 2008 (Suggest removal)

This game looked like a college team playing against 12 year olds.  The team got man-handled.  NO toughness (until the last 2minutes).This coach talks about being physical, about playing “old-school” hockey.  What I saw out on the ice tonight was pathetic.  This team has the skilled players.  What they lack, is the physical presence ON THE ICE!!!!Enforcers are what they are called.  This coach doesn’t agree.  The minute they show “PASSION” THEY ARE BENCHED (Anybody remember what happened to Dingman?) What a waste of a season.

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Por (Ruthe Robertson) on April 03, 2008 (Suggest removal)

This game was proof Torts has lost it. And to think he is coaching our USA team in the Worlds. I hope Andre Roy signs with someone else next year. We sure could have used him and O’Brien tonight. I’m not sure Vinny wants to sign a long term contract with this team. Who would as long as Torts and Feaster are here?

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Por (Tommy Dickerson) on April 03, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Last 4 yrs, if we play tough, we win. If we get hit alot, we lose. We have been hit alot this year. Shame when you dont stand up for team-mates. Vinny became the man in 04 when we played Philly in the playoffs, he copied Primeau’s style of hit first then take the puck. Vinny has his best games when he plays like that, hassnt done it much this year. Wonder why? Get well Vinny. Bad no call on elbow to Mac’s face, too

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Por (Cookie) on April 03, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Boy Erik, that was somewhat of a prophetic statement you made at the end of the 1st period.  Guess Vinny found out the hard way about Cooke.  Marty gets tossed around in Carolina and Vinny gets injured in DC and our coach keeps our enforcer off the ice.I believe it was both Vinny and Marty who told Torts how much the team needed Andre in the locker room and on the ice.  What more proof does he need?

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Por (matt) on April 04, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I’m so glad the best Tortorella can do to defend his best player is say he took a cheap shot. I’ll bet if that were Richards Torts would have jumped on the ice himself and taken care of it. Pathetic excuse for a coach sticking up for his team. How about sending out Tarns, Janik, Smaby, Ward, and Junior and tell them not to leave the ice without either Cooke or their best player in the same spot as Vinny was. Jussie and Junior haven’t even played w Vinny that long and they both tried to stick up for their teammate. That is how hockey is supposed to work. Way to lay down for Washington coach.

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Por (Mike Moulton) on April 04, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Well when a guy with 27 total penalty minutes on the year, and very few points (Cooke) takes out your best player (Vinny) and you have to resort to having one of your most frequent healthy scratches (Janik) and a recent AHL call up with fewer fights under his belt than Brad Richards, you have to figure that Torts has totally lost it.

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Por (Andrea) on April 04, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I am so glad that you all have finally figured out that our coach is not for us. I hate that it took Vinny to get hurt for you to see it, but it is what it is. A normal HOCKEY coach would have been over the bench causing as much trouble as possible. Now everybody sees that all the players that do their job “enforce” like ROY and O’Brien get to be scratched for doing their job. Way to go coach keep it up maybe in Atlanta you can get them to cheap shot Marty and you’ll really be happy.

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Por (Bill) on April 04, 2008 (Suggest removal)

In the girly-man skating style Torts wants his team to bring to the ice, the Lightning are going to continue to be the league’s punching bags. Tort’s style doesn’t allow the players to be physical, he wants them more like the Ice-Capades. Other teams know this, they fore-check, pinch, take the puck in on two or three on ones and score. And enforcers? Torts rips them off the ice if they even hint at wanting to play physical and protect their teammates? Evgeniy Artukhin wouldn’t have let it happen. Andre Roy’s sitting it out because Fatboy Feaster’s got a bone-on against him and where’s O’brien been? Same deal? Play physical, protect your teammates and Torts yanks you. Let’s yank him and Feaster. They’ve killed this team.

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Por (Victor) on April 04, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I agree with Ruthe—tortorella has lost it. That was NOT a cheap hit on Vinnie; that was an unfortunate one. I don’t want him coaching Team USA either and I hope players refuse to play with him.

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Por (Ben Abbott) on April 04, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Torts is WRONG. That wasn’t a “cheap shot”, but rather Vinny getting run over while trying to spot a pick for Oulett. Cooke was doing his job, and doing it correctly and well and lawfully, to lay out Vinny to get to the puck. Torts is batty and an embarrassment to the team and to hockey. Is this the man to “lead” the USA team? I don’t have high hopes.

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Por (fanofbolts) on April 04, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I don’t give s shi# what anyone says,  but that was a cheap shot at Vinny or Oulett. Cooke is notorious for being a cheap-shot artist. I love dogging Torts as much as the next guy but you are 100% wrong if you think other wise. If anything Torts should have shown some stones and sent his 5 best fighter on the ice and told them not to come off until Ovechkin or Cooke ends up like Vinny. That’s how hockey has been played for years. So much for the coach being a throw-back physical type of coach.

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Por (Seth) on April 04, 2008 (Suggest removal)

It *WAS* a cheapshot, and an illegal hit, anybody who says differently obviously doesn’t know the first thing about hockey. A hit on a player who doesn’t have the puck, and hasn’t had the puck in the last second is the very DEFINITION of interference. It doesn’t matter if he’s skating between the defender and the puck carrier (unless intentionally blocking the defender, which he clearly wasn’t). Also, a high hit to the blindside, away from the puck like that could easily be called intent-to-injure, resulting in a game misconduct and suspension.

Torts is absolutely insane for keeping Roy and O’Brien out, and Vinny had to pay the price for it.

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Por (Kenb) on April 04, 2008 (Suggest removal)

It is never LAWFUL in hockey to hit a player who has not touched the puck, regaredless if he is in your path to the puck,. Dirty hit, player facing away from Cooke without the puck.

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Por (Nancy Pacini) on April 04, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I’m not sure anyone noticed it, but at the very next faceoff after the hit on Vinny, Tarnasky lined up next to Cooke, and was chirping at him.  It was obvious he wanted to go.  Once the puck dropped, Cooke swatted it into the corner, then hightailed it to the bench, not to be heard from again.  it appeared to me that Tarnasky was more than willing to stand up for Vinny, and one would have to think it was Torts who sent him out for that shift.  Perhaps we shouldn’t rush to judgement quite so quickly.  And as for as those who advocate retaliating by deliberately injuring Ovechkin, shame on you.

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Por (Steve B Henderson) on April 04, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Give Torts a break. No one here knows what goes on behind closed doors. I am sure there are good reasons why O’Brien and Roy are in the pressbox. I agree we have to blow up the roster next year. I see geat potential in goal. Our draft has been killing us in the past.
BTW..I am not sure I could live without Torts’ scowls after goals against. I say keep him with a short leash. And yes. as a former Jr hockey player..Cookes’ hit on Vinny was cheap. He was in a vulnerable position and MOST players have a code on that. I just wish someone on the ice at the time would have taken the preogative and taken on Cooke

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Por (Nikki Sixx) on April 05, 2008 (Suggest removal)

It was really pathetic to watch Cooke take a cheap shot on Vinny. It makes me wonder why everyone in the league had 300+ powerplay chances and we don’t. Just imagine- if Vinny was replaced with Ovechkin and Cooke was replaced for Roy. He would have been throw out. Fined more than 2500 bucks- and suspended. But yet- the league slaps his hand. Our team needed to respond to it. They didn’t. This is EXACTLY why we need Roy back.

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Por (lightning friend) on April 07, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Bill ...great point ...I almost forgot Artukhin !!! He was the beginning of the end for this team . Dont believe it ..look at the record. He was a beast and could skate too. He was an unbelievable raw talent that any good organization or coach would have loved working with.Just his presence on the bench,the threat of him getting on the ice , kept the other team honest. Ne cheap shots on Vinny.What did they lose him foe ,wasnt it only $100000.

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